Kia Stevens, known to many as Awesome Kong, begins her wrestling career in 2002 after she appears on a reality tv program. She gains the name “Amazing Kong” during her time in Japan, later changing it. In addition, she was inspired by Lita from WWE.
The Journey Of Awesome Kong
Kia would go on to train at the School of Hard Knocks in California before having her first match in Empire Wrestling Federation. At the beginning of her career, she wrestles in Japan from 2002 to 2007 winning multiple titles.
Awesome Kong would get her name from Masatsugu Matsunaga as a replacement for Aja Kong in some matches over in Japan. Kong will go on to work at Shimmer, ROH, WWE (as Kharma) AEW, and most notably TNA. She also was on GLOW as Tammé Dawson aka The Welfare Queen.
The First Black Woman Inducted Into TNA/IMPACT Hall Of Fame
Kong is now a TNA/IMPACT Hall of Famer and one of the most polarizing and bass women in wrestling ever. When we go back to her feud with Gail Kim, it is arguably one of the greatest feuds of all time. Their matches were also on point, crisp, wild at times, and even violent when necessary.
The Knockouts in TNA/IMPACT were way ahead of their time. They showcase women being dominant in the ring at a time women were overlooked in wrestling. Kong was dominating, strong, and damn near unstoppable.
Both Kong and Gail put on impressive matches and stole the show many times. Their different styles clashed and elevated the Knockouts division. They were light-years away from the matches we were getting during that time. Pioneers, if you will, in the Knockouts division who did the damn thing time and time again even in 2022.
Recently, Awesome King sat down with Chris Van Vilet to talk about her time in WWE, GLOW, AEW, TNA, and retirement. Kong discusses being paid far less than others despite being one of the top wrestlers at TNA.
“That was definitely a spark to this inferno of women’s wrestling now because they are doing it. It’s just wrestling now, not even women’s wrestling, they are just workers out there now, going out there and doing the deal. It used to be that the women were ‘popcorn matches,’ they always put us in the second match so people would go to the bathroom or get their popcorn. It’s getting much more respect and women are demanding more respect. Outside of Gail and I, our program being successful and that being an influence over wrestling, I’d like to say I had a lot of influence on women advocating for themselves because in TNA, I would not keep my mouth shut.
I just couldn’t understand some of the things that were going on. ‘That’s backward. You can’t tell me that when Kong and Gail pop up on the screen and y’all telling me that the numbers are spiking high all night and I’m not worth X amount of money on paper?’ They would put you through this gauntlet, this maze of asking for a raise or to implement change. One of the times I asked for a raise, I found out what Kurt (Angle) had made. All I wanted was 1/10th of what he was making. You look me in eye and tell me I’m not worth 1/10th of Kurt Angle. Just tell me that. If you can’t tell me that, then pay me that. One or the other. You tell me I’m not worth 1/10th of Kurt Angle, then what am I doing here? I have to figure out some other stuff. If you (can’t) tell me that, then pay me.”
-Awesome Kong via (Fightful)
She goes on to talk about some of her frustrations with AEW.
“Here’s the thing. We have a lot of leaders that have an idea of a perception, they have a vision, and everyone only gets a piece, a little piece of that vision into the picture, into the art piece. Sometimes it don’t work. And the thing is, I don’t want to sound like I’m bashing the crew over there at AEW, especially since we were just up and running. We are all new executives, and we are trying to think outside the box, and really give it to y’all, you know what I mean? Give you something new, something that hasn’t been seen.
“We were trying to give you something you hadn’t seen. But I feel, for me, I felt unheard. I wasn’t in control, you know what I mean? All I could do is say hey I have this idea of X, Y, and Z. And I couldn’t get in the room where final decisions are made. And believe me, honey, Kia stalked that room. I would stay there after the big meetings, like pick up the water bottles and the cups like, ‘Huh, Y’all need…you need me to go? Okay.’ I tried to get it to the last meeting where decisions were made. But [I] never had a chance to. And after a while, I’m like okay, so that’s just not gonna happen, so I’m not gonna push it. You know what I mean?”
“When you obviously see that this is who they’re comfortable making decisions, and that’s not a read, that’s not a critique, but that’s who was comfortable making decisions. And so it’s like what do you do? It’s out of my control. If I had control, give me 15 minutes of Kia hour. Kia’s 25 minutes of fame. Go out there and steal me the show from them boys. You, you, and you. Nyla [Rose], go steal the show from the boys.”
You can check out the full interview shown below: